Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 | 1:30 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer express excitement over the race in the Northwest division with Shadow Ridge and Legacy emerging as surprise contenders, and take stock of the other leagues.
As a perennial top-five team in the state that features a notoriously bruising offense, Arbor View feeds off intimidation.
Before kickoff Friday night the Aggies stormed the field through a tunnel headed by a bull, charging through a cloud of crimson smoke.
The smoke cast a red hue over the stadium as the ball was kicked off to start their game against undefeated Shadow Ridge.
That’s when things got scary for the Mustangs as defensive lineman Greg Rogers and the rest of the Aggies' defense thrashed Shadow Ridge in a 45-6 rout.
“We want to be the best defense in the state, and I feel like we are doing that right now,” Rogers said. “Our goal is to hold a team to zero points, and we haven’t done it yet so we are still waiting on that.”
The Aggies dominated the line of scrimmage with Rogers and junior Elijah Wade constantly wreaking havoc in the Mustangs' backfield.
“Elijah is a really great kid,” Rogers said. “I was in his shoes at one point in time. I always tell him that he has to continue to keep working.”
The two helped Arbor View’s dominating defense hold Shadow Ridge to just 199 yards of total offense, the only score coming when the Mustangs took over with a short field following an Aggie fumble.
“I’ve never really seen anything like this before, having someone next to me who is that dominant,” Rogers said. “Having the opportunity to play next to each other is really good.”
Arbor View’s offense struggled out of the gates with two early fumbles in its own territory, and led only 14-6 with less than two minutes left in the half.
Quarterback Hayden Bollinger led the Aggies into field goal range, and Carter Andrade nailed a 43-yard field goal as the half ended.
“It was big driving down at the end of the half and kicking the field goal,” said Arbor View coach Dan Barnson. “That was a big, big deal and I was proud of the kids for that.”
Arbor View’s run-heavy offense can sometimes lack the explosive plays until later in the game when the opposition wears down, and that’s exactly what happened Friday night.
“Playing against a double-wing offense, people don’t like getting hit in the mouth on every play and eventually it wears them down and we take off on them,” said fullback Andrew Wagner.
On the Aggies' opening possession of the second half, Wagner found a crease in the line and sprinted 82 yards for the touchdown.
“People aren’t expecting a fullback to just take off on them,” Wagner said. “They think I’m just a slow blocker, but once I hit the green I’m going to take off and not stop until I hit the silver.”
Wagner finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns on only four carries, and the Aggies rushed for 351 total yards.
“Wagner is one of our best athletes, hands down,” Barnson said. “When it comes to just being an Arbor View-type of football player he’s really good, especially with our style.”
Jaquari Hannie led the Aggies with 139 yards and a score, and Deago Stubbs ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns while catching another touchdown.
“I knew for a fact that we were going to wear them down,” Rogers said. “We just kept pounding on them and going at them with our defense and there was really nothing they could do about it.”
Malik Lindsey led the Mustangs with 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but Shadow Ridge was unable to complement him with only 15 total passing yards.
With its fourth straight win, Arbor View improves to 4-1 and will take on rival Centennial next week.
“Every game we aren’t always going to come out strong but we finished strong and put on a show for homecoming,” Rogers said.